Q&A With Roger Leslie
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Q&A With Roger Leslie
Mickey Mikkelson who’s the publicist to many authors, one of whom is The New York Times Bestselling author Tosca Lee, connected me to many authors to do Q&A’s with these past few weeks. Tonight one of these authors is Roger Leslie. Some of Roger’s work is Divine Destiny, From Inspiration to Publication: Master Book Writing One Piece at a Time, & My First Last Year.
Q: As I see on your website you write many inspirational books. What drew you into writing inspiration?
A: I’ve always loved reading inspirational books, whether fiction or nonfiction. My original intention was to become a novelist. But once you start a journey, the way finds you. Serendipitous incidents move you along sometimes unexpected paths. For years while I was a high school English teacher, I spent my evenings writing novels. My publishing efforts weren’t getting me anywhere. After a few years of working to inspire and empower my students to follow their dreams, I realized that the personal development lessons I was teaching in the classroom could empower all teens. That idea came to life as Success Express for Teens, my bestselling book to date. Thereafter, more inspirational and spiritual ideas evolved, and that writing niche was secured.
Q: If you’re writing a new novel now, can you reveal any details?
A: In November 2021, I was midway through writing another nonfiction book and revising one of the novels of a four-book series. The week before Thanksgiving, I felt this thrilling inspiration to write a Christmas book. I love the challenge of writing something completely new to me, which accounts for why I have books published in so many genres. If you watch my TED Talk, you’ll hear one of my favorite philosophies: take inspiration to action. The morning I thought, I’d love to write a Christmas novel! I started to draft one. I’m currently completing revision ten and preparing to send it to my editor. The central plot concerns a family who can’t afford Christmas one year and the son who’s determined to save it.
Q: When did you realize your calling to be an author?
A: The inspiration came to me while sitting in a movie theater. In 1974, my dad took me to see Murder on the Orient Express. That first viewing, I felt giddy with fascination. I kept thinking, I love this movie! As we left the theater, my dad told me my grandmother was a huge Agatha Christie fan and suggested I see the movie again with her. The second time I watched it, my exhilaration about the film’s ingenious writing transformed into an epiphany: I want to impact others the way this movie is impacting me. That moment, my destiny solidified. At age 13, I didn’t know if I had the talent or fortitude to become an author. However unevolved we are when we’re inspired never matters. When we feel to our very soul that something is meant for us, we must only take action and follow where spirit leads. Life will take us where we’re meant to go. The following week I wrote my first short story. I’ve been writing ever since.
Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to be a great author?
A: Besides being an author, I am also a writing coach, editor, and publisher of others’ books. The most basic tenet I share with my coaching clients: Writers write. The advice seems almost insultingly obvious. But so many aspiring authors get so entangled in planning and researching and defining what their book has to be they often never begin it. Other writers start their first draft but then strangle their creativity by reviewing and revising each chapter or paragraph before they complete the first draft. To be an author, you must write consistently. You will learn more by doing than you ever will by observing. To be a great author, you must always strive for excellence and be brave. You know you’re reaching excellence when you reread books you’ve written in the past and see how much better you could have made it if you wrote it today. Scared writers rework and rework the same manuscript as a way to avoid facing potential rejection. Brave authors do their best with each manuscript and then pursue its publication while immediately embarking on the next book.